As a touring guitarist, Kat Dyson has shared the stage with an impressive list of industry legends. She has performed alongside George Clinton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Prince, to name a few. A long-time endorser of PRS Guitars, her work as a session guitarist can be heard on a wide range of pop, rock, funk, and hip-hop records. Kat is also an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, devoting some her time to composing music for film and television in Los Angeles where she is currently based.
PRS: You have worked with a truly incredible roster of artists over the years, which collaborations stand out as your favorites?
KD: They all have special places in my heart and musical journey. But there are ones that became lifelong friendships as well like CYNDI LAUPER, SHEILA E and ODETTA. My musical journey was greatly impacted by Prince, Colin James, Carlos Santana, and my good friend Jimmy Vivino.
PRS: What has been the most memorable experience or encounter you have had while out on the road?
KD: I have had the extreme good fortune to meet and chat with many of my guitar ‘heroes’ and actually ‘touch‘ their guitars. High on the list are: BB King [Lucille was heavily strung - BB was a strong man!] Joe Pass [the setup was like butter; a feather touch could produce amazing tone] John McLaughlin [His Sitar Strat with the scalloped frets was just awesome to play!]
PRS: Are you the type of player who is always experimenting with new gear, strings gauges, different signal chains etc. or are you pretty consistent with your sound and feel preferences?
KD: A bit of both actually - lol! My PRS Custom 24 is ‘home base’ for consistency live and recording but I have many guitars with different gauges for various reasons and alternate tuning options and I am a ‘pedal junkie’... I love experimenting!
PRS: You have been played an integral role in the annual WiMN She Rocks Awards as the guitarist in the house band, Rock Sugah. What does it mean to you to be involved in this event and how do you prepare for all the material that you have to learn in such a short period of time?
KD: The She Rocks Awards is such an awesome and necessary event in the NAMM experience as women and their contributions drive the music industry and should definitely be acknowledged and celebrated. Getting prepared for the event has a flow like doing the daily TV show band gigs I’ve had. Lots of bumpers, artists to play for, and tons of tones to match, patches to write and study ...study ...study!
PRS: What is the single most important piece of advice you could offer to fledgling female guitarists out there looking to turn their playing into a career?
KD: Be totally prepared musically and as self-sufficient with your guitar and gear as possible. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready!
PRS: 2020 was a difficult year for the music industry to say the least. How have you adapted to “the new normal” and what project(s) are you currently involved with?
KD: Though much in procedure and delivering the arts to the public has changed, getting music together and planning performances has not. My prep remains 'my constant' normal as I am not really on board with the ever-changing circumstances of this pandemic being anywhere near 'normal'. My hope is that we, as a music industry, will emerge 'better' and adaptive and continue to serve the planet. The artists and organizations i work with are in talks to resume, as safety permits. Live performance plans with Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, the Black Women Rock Festival, the new Sheila E TV show, a new band project called Bella Brown and the Jealous Lovers are just a few projects that I (am allowed - lol) to mention at this time. I am excited for the future of music, however changed it may be.
Below, watch Kat discuss her musical career on an episode of St. Paul Peterson’s video podcast.